Friday, 16 June 2017

From the mountains to the sea

As we start this post a few words that may seem almost an apology:

Life is not as perfect for the Eicher pariwar  as these pictures may give the impression.  We have lots of grit and regret and stains that do not seem to get reflected much on this blog.  The many weeks of silence will probably point to some of that.  Will we write about it?  Perhaps - when time and tide allow - and the Spirit gives utterance...

In the mean-time, we want to acknowledge the healing virtues of vacation.  The Bible says that in repentance and rest is your salvation.  And here share some of the this journey are some pictures of our life together as a family ... A kind of photo-album of small snippets of beauty that are woven into our lives, which we wish to acknowledge with thankfulness.

A week ago, this is where we were:

Sheba with Tamana - looking down the hill from Flag Hill in Mussoorie.  We were on a day-hike with Mum and Narendra, Pramila and Tamana.   A beautiful sunny day nestled in the midst of clouds and mist - a gift for us plain dwellers to see sights like this.

And walk down paths that seemed like the central aisles of tree canopied cathedrals...

But this vacation took us to another places as well.

From the mountains to the valleys, hear our praises, rise to thee...

This year we are squeezing in a trip to coastal Andhra Pradesh as Daisy and Ramesh and their lovely kids Frankie and Shofar are in India after 2 years...

So it was good-bye to Oma Eicher - for a few weeks at least - since Asha and Enoch need to report back to boarding school in Mussoorie on the 28th of this month.

And on to a marathon cross country train trip.   We started with a rather trying drive down the hill - a huge traffic jam met us near the bottom with SUVs galore jostling through the narrows - and more than one person with affluenza showing that they thought traffic rules don't count for them - and so further added to the jam of jams.

We were blessed to have given much time as a buffer and so we were comfortably in time for our super-swish train to Delhi that nudged out of Dehra Dun station at 5 PM sharp.

Our Delhi sojourn could almost be counted in humming-bird-wing-beats.  A late night dropping-in at Victor and Sarah's place - a few conversations - packing lemon rice for the journey ahead - some prayer and sleep that was almost in the single digits of minutes.  We came in darkness and left just before dawn - with our dear Joanna Grace along with us for the journey.

As soon as we were in the train bunks were set up and blessed, blissful sleep took over.

And that is pretty much what it was like for the next 36 hours as our train took us across the parched plains and badlands of the Deccan Plateau (passing by our blessed Lalitpur but not stopping as we wooshed by in mid-day slumber)...

And with the second day of our train trip (and third on our journey) seeing us enter the land of the Telegus - 

Here be clouds....

... and the blessed beauty of green thanks to what we hope-and-pray is a 'normal' monsoon

As we trundled into Amma and Appa's home in the village of Tungalam, just outside Vishakapatnam, we were so glad to come home again.  Home to one of our safe places.  To a place of quiet and rest. And a blessed down-pour the next morning:

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And now a few words in praise of food.

It takes so long to make - and seems to disappear so quickly - but what a comfort a good meal is - especially when eaten with those we love.

My mid-riff is showing the evidence of much love (Asha and Enoch have given me a 8 kg loss challenge), but what can you say when your first morning is blessed with a meal like this:

It is a pleasure to be with Daisy and Ramesh - and catch up on their lives being lived out in far-away Arizona.  Amazed that Frankie is about to start as a freshman at ASU this fall - and that Shofar is turning 7 today (more on that in another post).   Time to talk and unwind.  We planned to visit others in the villages, but are just too tired, and to in need of down-time at this point to do that.  Hence we are happily ensconced at Jaba Villa and are doing the essentials of eating, sleeping, reading, talking, praying, eating some more (you get the picture).

Being near the sea, we are blessed with its fruits:

Which means some more serious noshing en familie

As said many a moon ago when Steve Satow and I spent a winter holiday visit to Anand Sinha's family in Patna: sometimes silence at the table is the ultimate complement to a good meal - as all the trenchermen (and women) are blissfully working away at their victuals.

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And then there is the joy of being in a village.  Yes, Lalitpur is rather rural, but there is something about the good folk of  Andhra that makes you want to go out for walks.  

Colours seem more vivid here.  Buildings are painted with what seems a desire to explore the breadth of the palette.  The vegetable market is Kodachrome-worthy:

Local delicacies - plastic footwear - fish (dried and fresh) are all available to the discerning shopper at the weekly market held in the BHPV campus - a large government undertaking which makes 'heavy plates and vessels' (whatever those may be).

And well, when you are walking around in a market, the purse strings do beg to be opened.  Enoch decided to snack on some 'mini-samosas.'

On our way back we are confronted with the paradox of village life here:

A gold colour Gandhi statue - looking rather grim and a bit forlorn guards the entrance to the village. Next to him is a rather limp CITU flag - one of the communist trade unions from the government plant.  On our way in, a young man had chosen to lean against the pedestal of the 'father of the nation' while making a phone call on his mobile (or was he updating his facebook status?).

Behind Gandhiji the village pond.  Complete with ducks.  And a collection of temples and houses that continue to spring up in many-hued splendour under the grey early monsoonal skies.

Meanwhile, the dogs are asleep... and I have promises to keep.

1 comment:

  1. so happy for your chats again. I pray for you, your family, and your mother. I thank God for you!